NASA’s InSight spacecraft may have landed on Mars in 2018, but the rovers and orbiters studying the Red Planet concentrated on its surface still provide valuable data today. More specifically, the stationary lander’s seismometer, which gives us the first details on the depth and composition of Mars’ crust, mantle, as well as core, including confirmation that the planet’s center is molten. Read more for two videos and additional information.
InSight’s seismometer is officially called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) and has thus far recorded 733 distinct marsquakes. Approximately 35 of those, ranging between magnitudes 3.0 and 4.0, provided the data for the three papers since it enables scientists to “hear” seismic events from hundreds to thousands of miles away.
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When we first started putting together the concept of the mission more than a decade ago, the information in these papers is what we hoped to get at the end. This represents the culmination of all the work and worry over the past decade,” said Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.